The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 16 November 2019

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 16 Nov 2019

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Joint Statement on Human Rights and Humanitarian Concerns Related to Conflict Affected Women and Children in Syria and Iraq

Human Rights – Women-Children in Syria, Iraq

Joint Statement on Human Rights and Humanitarian Concerns Related to Conflict Affected Women and Children in Syria and Iraq
New York, 11 November 2019 – Four United Nations High-Level Advocates express their concerns about the precarious human rights, humanitarian and security situation faced by thousands of people, mainly composed of women and children, who are being held in inhumane conditions in overcrowded camps or other settings in northern Syria and Iraq.

“We are deeply concerned about the uncertainty of detention and security arrangements in this region including possible lack of due process, arbitrary detention, imposition of the death penalty, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, sexual violence, among others, as well as limited access to basic humanitarian services such as food, water, medical care and other essential services. We stress that children should not be detained, except as a matter of last resort and only for the shortest possible period, in line with international, human rights and humanitarian laws including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocols.”

The recent ongoing hostilities can further exacerbate the dire conditions of this highly vulnerable group and the four UN advocates express their concern at the possible consequences for the whole region. “We urge positive and cooperative action by States to ensure the full protection of human rights and ensure humanitarian needs of these civilians are met.”

“Recognizing that acts of sexual violence have been used as a tactic of terror, we urge that women, boys and girls who have suffered sexual violence and/or have been trafficked or otherwise forced into marriage, sexual slavery and exploitation by UN-listed terrorist groups are not re-victimized by being punished for offences resulting from their exploitation. Survivors of sexual violence committed by UN-listed terrorist groups must be treated as victims of terrorism and should be entitled to holistic support including reparations and redress.”

“States should also take all necessary measures to avoid the stigmatization of children, including those who were born of conflict-related sexual violence or children who were recruited or used by parties to conflict. States must also prevent discrimination of these children based on nationality, birth and immigration status, and should take all measures to prevent statelessness.”

The four UN advocates remind States that they have the obligation to take all the necessary steps to intervene in favour of their nationals abroad, including through the safe repatriation of women and children to their countries of origin with full respect of non-refoulement. The situation of women and children deprived of their liberty in northern Syria and Iraq must be assessed on an individual basis. Any decision regarding children should be guided by the best interests of the child as well as principles of family unity, including in the context of repatriation.

“We commend the action of States who have already facilitated the return of their citizens, acknowledging the vulnerability of women and children trapped in displacement camps. We call on States to fully implement their legal obligations by accepting those citizens who wish to return to their country of citizenship, granting due process to those who should be prosecuted and reintegrating individuals as appropriate into society. We call on States to treat all survivors of violations, specifically boys and girls, humanely and fairly, so to affirm their dignity and rights. We offer our collective support and assistance to all Member States to work towards this end.”

This statement has been signed by: The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (OSRSG-SVC), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict (OSRSG-CAAC), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (OSRSG-VAC) and the Special Rapporteur on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism.

Report – Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains

Child Labour

Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains
Report – Jointly authored by the ILO, OECD, IOM and UNICEF under the aegis of Alliance 8.7,
12 November 2019 :: 114 pages
Achieving commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end child labour, forced labour and human trafficking requires that governments, business, the financial sector and civil society take strong action to address the root causes and determinants of these human rights violations. While global supply chains have the potential to generate growth, employment, skill development and technological transfer, they have also been linked to human rights violations and abuses.

Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains presents research findings and recommendations on child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains the report also represents the first ever attempt to measure these human rights abuses and violations on a large scale.

According to the latest global estimates, there are a total of 152 million children in child labour and 25 million children and adults in forced labour in the world today. While it is possible to estimate with growing precision the total number of people in child labour and forced labour, determining how many of these people are in production and consumption linked to global supply chains remains a significant challenge. The goods and services purchased by consumers are composed of inputs from many countries around the world and are processed, assembled, packaged, transported, and consumed across borders and markets. Mapping these intricate supply chains, or, to use a more descriptive metaphor, supply “webs”, is complex. Identifying where and to what extent child labour, forced labour and human trafficking occur along these supply chains is even more so. Tracing the origins of a final product or even its components requires capturing statistics not only in the market where the product is “consumed”, but also all along its supply chain, a task that is beyond the scope of traditional survey and national accounting methods.6 For example, identifying child labour at each segment of a global supply chain would require very detailed information on the sectoral composition of child labour and on the interdependencies between industries within an economy and across countries…

Global action on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Human Rights – Children

Global action on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Government commitments to implementing child rights in the 21st century.
In 1989, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Thirty years on, Member States are invited to renew their commitment to the full implementation of the Convention – implementing child rights in the 21st century.


Thursday, November 14, 2019
Millions of vulnerable children at risk as governments fail to renew pledges to protect their rights
ChildFund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children International, SOS Children’s Villages International, Terre des Hommes International Federation and World Vision International.

Child rights organisations express outrage at global inaction as the UN marks the 30th anniversary of the most widely ratified international human rights treaty

(London): The lives of millions of vulnerable children are at risk because the majority of the world’s nations have failed to renew their commitment to children’s rights, six leading international child rights organisations have warned.

The agencies, represented by a coalition – Joining Forces – expressed dismay that only a handful of countries have made concrete commitments to advance children’s rights to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November.

Less than half of all countries have so far adopted the “For every child, every right” global pledge to redouble action for children, at the invitation of UNICEF and the United Nations.

Worse still, less than 50 countries have submitted national pledges and almost none of the countries with the highest rates of child poverty and deprivation have made any commitments.

“There are millions of children who have been left behind,” said Meg Gardinier, secretary general of ChildFund Alliance and chair of Joining Forces. “For all we have achieved since 1989, their suffering is a grave breach of the promises made to children 30 years ago. It is imperative that states work with renewed vigour and urgency to realize the rights of all children.”

The six agencies urged governments to make specific policy commitments for children or pledge increased investments in areas such as education, health or social protection.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history. It has prompted substantial investment in children’s health, education and safety and the adoption of laws and policies that recognise the rights of children, particularly in areas where they are vulnerable, including labour exploitation, corporal punishment, alternative care and forced and early marriage.

However, the coalition expressed grave concern that despite extraordinary advances in the last three decades, the lives of too many children remain blighted.

Andrew Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision International, said: “Shocking numbers continue to die from preventable causes, with millions more missing school or facing heart-breaking abuse. An estimated 12 million girls under 18 are married each year. I recently met an 8-year-old girl in East Africa who had been subjected to FGM and forced marriage. Her childhood was stolen and her future devastated. We cannot stand by and allow this atrocity to keep happening.”

The Joining Forces report: A Second Revolution: 30 Years of Child Rights, and the Unfinished Agenda, showed commitments made three decades ago to protect the rights of children remain unfulfilled for millions. Violence still affects countless children. Discrimination based on age, gender, disability, sexual orientation and religion harms children worldwide.

Key factors include a lack of investment in critically important services. Most countries fall well short of spending the 5-6% of GDP needed to ensure universal coverage of essential health care. And foreign aid, which many lower income countries rely on, is falling short in areas such as health and education.

Another factor, the report said, is the lack of quality data. Governments tend to rely on data that reflects national averages, making it difficult to identify the needs of specific children and to monitor progress. Comprehensive data collection and disaggregation of data by gender, age, disability and locality, are increasingly important as rights violations disproportionally affect disadvantaged children.

Existing statistics show that poverty is still the single greatest determinant of outcomes for a child.
Children in the poorest 20% of households are 40% more likely than average to die before their fifth birthday. Young children in the poorest families, as well as in rural and remote areas, are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer stunted physical growth. And children worldwide are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty.

ICC judges authorise opening of an investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/ Myanmar

Rohingya – Justice

ICC judges authorise opening of an investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/ Myanmar
Press Release 13 November 2019
On 14 November 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) authorised the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction in the Situation in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh/Republic of the Union of Myanmar (“the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar”).

ICC Pre-Trial Chamber III is composed of Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia, Presiding, Judge Robert Fremr, and Judge Geoffrey Henderson.

This authorisation follows the request submitted on 4 July 2019 by the Prosecutor to open an investigation into alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar.

The Chamber also received the views on this request by or on behalf of hundreds of thousands of alleged victims. According to the ICC Registry, victims unanimously insist that they want an investigation by the Court and many of the consulted alleged victims ‘believe that only justice and accountability can ensure that the perceived circle of violence and abuse comes to an end’. The Chamber recognised all the individuals and organisations that assisted, guided and advised alleged victims throughout this process.

The Chamber concluded that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party. While Myanmar is not a State Party, Bangladesh ratified the ICC Rome statute in 2010. Upon review of the available information, the Chamber accepted that there exists a reasonable basis to believe widespread and/or systematic acts of violence may have been committed that could qualify as the crimes against humanity of deportation across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and persecution on grounds of ethnicity and/or religion against the Rohingya population. The Chamber found no need to assess whether other crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction may have been committed, even though such alleged crimes could be part of the Prosecutor’s future investigation.

Noting the scale of the alleged crimes and the number of victims allegedly involved, the Chamber considered that the situation clearly reaches the gravity threshold. According to the supporting material, an estimated 600,000 to one million Rohingya were forcibly displaced from Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh as a result of the alleged coercive acts. Noting the victims’ views, the Chamber agreed with the Prosecutor that there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation into the situation would not be in the interests of justice…

Open Society Fdn Pledges Support for African Cultural Heritage Restitution

Heritage Stewardship

Open Society Pledges Support for African Cultural Heritage Restitution
A new Open Society initiative will support efforts to return cultural inheritances that were taken from Africa to their rightful homes.
November 12, 2019 NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations today announced a $15 million initiative to strengthen efforts to restore cultural objects looted from the African continent. Over four years, the initiative will support networks and organizations working to return Africa’s heritage to its rightful home.

“The legacy of colonial violence has deep implications for the ways that racism and imbalances of power are perpetuated today. This isn’t just about returning pieces of art, but about restoring the very essence of these cultures,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of Open Society. “We are proud to support this movement towards reconciling historical wrongs, as part of our mission to advance true justice.”

… “With so much of Africa’s precolonial cultural legacy housed in European museums, these artifacts are out of reach for millions on the African continent, who have a right to their own knowledge and cultural production,” said Rashida Bumbray, director of Culture and Art at Open Society. “Restitution is not only about rightsizing the past, but about access to one’s own heritage and a necessity to maintain this connection for future generations.”

…Partnering with museums, governments, artists, academics, and civil society, the initiative will involve colleagues from across the Open Society Foundations…Grant making will put Africa’s needs and priorities at the forefront and may include support for grassroots organizations, coalition building, litigation, public monitoring, and expert convenings with African scholars, cultural and creative figures, spiritual leaders, policy officials, and others.

Packard Foundation Announces 2020 Launch of Five-Year Strategy at the Intersection of Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation

Development – Heritage Stewardship

Foundation Announces 2020 Launch of Five-Year Strategy at the Intersection of Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation
November 12, 2019
In January 2020 the David and Lucile Packard Foundation will launch a new five-year, $7.5 million-per-year Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation (ALC) grantmaking strategy.

Formerly a grantmaking pilot, ALC is now a formal strategy involving the Foundation’s Conservation and Science program and Population and Reproductive Health program. ALC will continue its work supporting organizations and leaders focused on small-scale farmers in tropical forest areas. These smallholder farmers are working to protect the planet’s rich biodiversity while building thriving economic futures for their communities.

“The pilot phase confirmed that there are many creative solutions around the globe that enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and rural communities while maintaining the biodiverse forests and ecosystem services that they rely on,” says Walt Reid, Program Director of the Foundation’s Conservation and Science program. “We are eager to dig in with more long-term investments, applying what we’ve learned to a targeted approach that supports both people and planet.”

Moving forward, ALC will continue to support groups of people that are at the nexus of this delicate balance, namely, smallholder farmers, women, young people, and Indigenous communities. ALC will also maintain its focus on specific geographies, with a few adjustments.

…In 2012, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Board of Trustees launched seven years of research and exploratory grantmaking in food and agriculture. This included a three-year pilot period of investments examining agriculture and livelihoods in Indonesia, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, guidance from an advisory council composed of members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and issue area experts, and engagement with smallholder farmers, grantee partners, and experts in the field. The pilot period ends in 2019, and the new strategy will launch in January 2020.